Looking back on all the years spent in classrooms from kindergarten through 12th grade, we may not remember the concepts we learned, but we will never forget the educators that made an impact on our lives.
Educators have one of the most important jobs because they are tasked with teaching the very children that will soon shape the future. They also teach children lessons they will carry with them as adults, encourage them to follow their dreams, and often provide so much more than what they are given credit for.
Lauren Belowich of Bethlehem Township is a math teacher at Northampton Area High School. She has taught at Northampton Area School District for 15 years and decided to become a teacher because it has always been her passion due to her avidity for leading, serving and helping others achieve their goals.
Lauren explains that the things teachers and staff help students with at school reach far beyond the traditional views of education, which is why teaching is such a fulfilling career for her.
Not only is Lauren fond of teaching, but she also loves helping students realize their potential.
“I enjoy seeing their confidence grow and helping them understand how perseverance and a growth mindset can help them achieve their goals,” Lauren adds.
One of the things Lauren appreciates most about being a teacher is seeing the progress that students make over the course of a year, which is why her proudest moments are when she gets to see her students grow throughout their four years in high school and when she gets to see them walk across the stage at graduation.
“Every day brings a new challenge. Sometimes I teach algebra, sometimes I help students realize they can do challenging things, sometimes I am a cheerleader and support them at their out of school activities, and sometimes I am just there to be a sounding board when they’re having a tough day. Regardless of the hat I wear, I am grateful for the opportunity to be trusted enough to help them grow,” Lauren shares.
Zachary (Zach) Winter of Orefield is a sixth grade science teacher at Northampton Area Middle School. He has taught at NASD for nine years and decided to become a teacher because he has always enjoyed helping people, which he gets to do every day as a teacher.
Zach explains that the hardest part about being a teacher is seeing and hearing the struggles that some students are faced with outside of the classroom, but that his favorite part is seeing the “a-ha moments” in the classroom.
“Science can be a difficult subject for some students, as it requires the understanding of abstract concepts and the use of critical thinking skills. There’s nothing more rewarding than watching students go through an investigation and seeing the look of excitement on their faces when the light bulb goes off,” Zach adds.
Another aspect of teaching that Zach finds rewarding is when students he previously taught come back and tell him about the positive impact that his class had on them.
Zach’s advice to individuals thinking about becoming a teacher or who are just starting out is to not fear failure.
“As a teacher, growth comes when you aren’t afraid to try something new. Every teacher can tell you about a lesson that failed miserably, but they would also be able to tell you about what they learned from that failure and how it helped them plan all sorts of successful lessons in the future,” Zach shares.
Curtis (Curt) Dimmick of Allen Township is the principal of Moore Elementary School. Prior to becoming a principal, Curt was a teacher where the building principal of the school he taught at urged him to switch to administration. The rest, he says, is history, as this school year marks his 14th year as principal at Moore Elementary.
Curt explains that as a principal, he tries to be a role model for students and someone that students and teachers can both lean on when they need to talk through issues that are bothering them.
However, Curt says the hardest part about being a principal is when he has to call parents to discuss their child’s inappropriate behaviors or a consequence for their child’s actions.
“I try not to make it an ‘us versus them’ thing, as I’d much prefer to work together to solve problems. Discipline calls are hard because [they] can lead to hard feelings and animosity, which I don’t like. If I am too harsh, it can damage the relationships between myself and the student/family, but if I’m too lenient, it damages the relationship between myself and staff, so it’s a narrow line that seems to be getting thinner each year,” he adds.
The relationships that Curt builds with students, their families and his staff are what he loves most about being a principal.
“I have met so many amazing people over the years. Being the principal, I have such a great opportunity to see a different side of the students and their families, and I think it allows me to be more of a ‘confidante’ than anything else,” Curt reveals.
Curt also shares that he wants students to feel that he is their advocate and someone they can rely on when they are at Moore and even after they leave, and that he wants parents to feel that they can reach out to him when they need to, knowing he will do everything within his ability to assist them.
“There is no better feeling in the world than having a student come up to me and say that they think I’m the best principal, which is funny because I’m usually the only one they’ve had, but I’m not going to tell them that,” Curt jests.
Overall, it is abundantly clear how much these three educators love and value their role as educators and how lucky NASD is to have them. Not only are they shaping the minds of our children and our future, but they are also inspiring a love of learning, fostering growth, and inspiring imaginations—all while being an encouraging, unwavering guide of support to help students believe in themselves and follow their dreams.